The Round Engagement Ring:
Round engagement rings are very versatile - whether modern or traditional in design, simple or elaborate - and are the most popular choice among brides-to-be for engagement rings. Round engagement rings feature a diamond that is cut in a circular shape (as seen from the top) and set as either a solitaire or as a central, usually larger stone with accent stones or baguettes.
The history of the round engagement ring:
The diamond in a round engagement ring is generally known as a round brilliant. This cut was designed in 1919 by Belgian diamond cutter Marcel Tolkowsky. There are 58 facets in the diamond in a round engagement ring, cut in such a way that when light reflects through the stone it seems to bounce back up from the bottom to the top. Before the design of the round brilliant, round diamonds often lost light through the stone's bottom. (The proportions designed by Tolkowsky are sometimes referred to as the "American Ideal Cut," despite the fact that his work was done in Europe.)
Many people believe that round brilliant engagement rings best display a diamond's beauty and sparkle. The brilliance (the intensity of the light reflected through the crown, the top portion of the diamond) in a round engagement ring stone makes it an ideal choice for a solitaire, a ring with a just one stone mounted in a setting without side or accent stones. One classic solitaire option is the Tiffany setting, a six-prong mounting that lifts the stone up above the otherwise unadorned band so that as much light as possible is reflected through the diamond. There are many other possibilities, but in a pronged setting a round engagement ring does require a minimum of four prongs to ensure that the stone stays securely in place.
In addition to being the most common choice for engagement rings, round brilliant diamonds are also the most researched diamond shape of all. Diamond cutters use intricate mathematical calculations and scientific theories about light to find the best way to optimize the qualities of the stones. In addition to round engagement rings, round brilliant stones are often featured in other diamond jewelry, such as earrings and pendants; in fact, three-quarters of all diamonds sold are round brilliants. Because of the popularity of round brilliants in many kinds of jewelry, high-quality round engagement rings can be more expensive than other shapes. Nevertheless, there is generally a variety of round engagement rings from which to choose, in a wide range of price categories.
When shopping for a round engagement ring, pay particular attention to the cut of the stone, to ensure that it's been crafted for maximum brilliance. The detailed facets in a round brilliant diamond might make it look smaller than diamonds of other shapes that have the same carat weight, but a well-cut round engagement ring will often have more fire (multi-colored sparkle, also known as dispersion). A round engagement ring stone with a large table (the flat facet across the top) may look larger, but this could also result in less brilliance.
Images by: Blue Nile